BOOK 3 in The Granton University Trilogy
Contemporary New Adult Romance
Orginally published November 2017
110,388 words, 310 pages
3-Flame Sensuality Rating
All Bailey Prescott wants is to wrangle a certain cowboy on campus. She spends most weekends searching the party crowds for him. One night, at a lame frat house, she finds herself trapped in a bathroom and ends up the sole witness to a crime…or not a crime?
Bailey's one small voyeuristic moment has gigantic implications.
Now she's forced to make a choice: forget what she saw and move on, or expose herself in order to save a man from spending years behind bars. Whatever her decision, her testimony is the key to everything. It may even open the door to her happily ever after. That is, if anyone actually believes her.
She just wanted to find her cowboy…how did she get mixed up in a mess like this?
This party sucked so bad. Even the beer was stale.
I seemed to be the only person bothered by the taste, though. Everyone else in the crammed fraternity house was chugging it as if it were, well, good beer.
Wrinkling my nose, I lifted the red SOLO cup higher so there'd be a longer stream to watch as I poured the contents into the sink. Behind me, some frat boy called, "Hey! What're you doing? That's good beer."
"Debatable," I murmured as I finished emptying my cup and then tossed the wasted shell into a nearby trashcan. Dusting my hands dry on my denim-covered hips, I glanced around, searching for some kind of entertainment. Any kind of entertainment.
A keg stand was taking place in the other half of a kitchen with cheers of, "Drink, drink, drink," chorusing throughout the room. But meh. Boring.
I'd just left the half-dressed drunk girls dancing in the living room, and didn't want to witness that atrocity again.
Out the window, I saw a group of guys playing bean bag toss on the back lawn. I could've headed that way and joined their game, but the wussies I'd defeated last week had been nothing but sore losers; they'd called me some really nasty, lame names just because someone with ovaries had kicked their asses. So I had no desire to play against those no-aim idiots again.
A couple made out in the corner, the guy skimming his hand up the girl's thigh until his fingers disappeared under the hem of her short skirt.
I rolled my eyes. There was absolutely no guy I'd met on campus this year that I could even remotely consider hooking up with. I had a bad feeling the cowboy I'd been chasing last year must've graduated because I hadn't spotted him once this semester, and it was November. So that crossed all possible plans of hanky panky off my list.
There was no reason for me to hang around here at all, except I didn't want to go home.
They were home. All disgustingly happy four of them.
I couldn't even express how excited I was that my two best friends—along with their perfect, superhot boyfriends—and I were now living together under one roof so I could continually watch Paige and Tess snuggle with their men non-stop morning, noon and night for seven days a week with no rest for the weary.
The joy. Really. It was too much to even contain.
It didn't matter that it'd been my idea for the three of us to rent an apartment together, or to sweeten the pot, I'd said, "Sure, invite your guys to live with us too." How the devil was I to know I'd find myself existing in a hell filled with a perpetual Valentine's Day? I mean, seriously, those two couples were so freaking in love it was maddening.
They might as well just tack a neon flashing sign to my bedroom door that said, "The Loser Loner Sleeps Here."
It was supposed to be awesome that I'd snagged the master bedroom, which had its own private bath and walk-in closet plus a sweet view of the park across the street. But really it just felt extra huge and lonely in there all by myself while I would lie awake at night staring up at my ceiling and listening to murmured voices seep through the walls on either side of me as my coupled up best friends snuggled in for the night with their soulmates.
Plus, it also felt kind of selfish to hog the biggest room to myself since I obviously needed the least amount of space. Tess and Paige insisted I keep it, though, so each night it just stretched bigger and emptier and lonelier.
Not that I actually wanted my own boyfriend. Ick. The one time I'd tried that in high school, it'd been a disaster of epic proportions. So, yeah, no permanent man for me, thank you.
There was just something about being left out of the couple club that made me cantankerous. That made me feel lacking. This evening had been particularly unpleasant. They'd wanted to rent a movie together. Paige and Logan had curled up on the couch, Jonah and Tess had snuggled together on the love seat, and I'd been left with the lazy boy and a bowl full of popcorn to keep myself company, which I'd polished off within the first ten minutes.
Watching the two couples tangled together, kissing every few seconds, constantly touching their other half, and so obviously in love, had made me puke a little in my mouth (and made me so jealous I'd wanted to axe someone), so I'd abandoned them about five minutes after that and found my way here to this dreadfully dull frat party.
Okay, dull might be a bit of an understatement. I mean, no one else around me appeared bored, so it was probably just me, and it only seemed lifeless to me because Tess and Paige weren't around.
I wandered into a new room as if I was searching for something or someone, though I wasn't. I'd never felt so restless and solitary in my whole damn life. I missed hanging with my two besties.
But I was happy they were happy so I'd stop whining about that. Really. I just needed, I don't know, something. Not a man. But something to give me a reason to wake up each morning, something to make all this living business worthwhile. A goal maybe.
Yeah, a goal sounded good, like something to work toward and keep my mind busy, aside from school and my part-time job. Something that actually interested me.
Yes, perfect. I was totally going to come up with a cool, stimulating goal. Like…some goal. I wasn't exactly sure what kind of goal exactly, but—
When I spotted a cowboy hat from the corner of my eye, I paused everything.
Because cowboy hat? Cowboy hat!
I did a double take and my mouth fell open.
There was my goal. My cowboy.